The Port of Tyne will add ships from two new cruise companies to its burgeoning timetable of arrivals and departures.
The news comes as the region celebrates English Tourism Week and figures reveal 44,580 came to the North East via the port last year – an increase of 13%.
Portuscale Cruises with the MV Azores, and V-Ships with the MV Artania, will begin operating from the port as passenger numbers are forecast to increase throughout 2014. The German cruise line Peter Deilmann is also to return with the MV Deutschland, along with Hapag Lloyd’s inaugural call of the Hanseatic, and Swan Hellenic revisiting with its exclusive cruise ship Minerva.
DFDS Seaways continues to market cruises to Tyneside to city break visitors in Holland, Belgium and Germany.
As well as Premier League football, Hadrian’s Wall is thought to be the biggest pull for cruise companies, with one in four sea passengers visiting the Northumberland landmark.
Destination marketing organisation the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative (NGI) said the port supports 1,700 tourism-related jobs and passengers generate £54m visitor spend.
Steven Harrison, the port’s chief operating officer, said: “The North East is a destination that has much to offer cruise lines with a well-established, eclectic range of world-renowned tourist attractions.
“The port’s award-winning cruise terminal is fully equipped to handle all types of cruise calls, with smooth parking, check-in facilities, baggage handling, easy connections into the region, and customer service that is second to none. As many more people choose to take a cruise for their holiday we know that we can increase this business and our team will be working hard to attract more cruise lines here and into the North East region.”
Sarah Stewart, NGI chief executive, said: “Premiership football, shopping and Newcastle and Gateshead’s cultural venues and attractions are just some of the reasons more than 40,000 ferry passengers chose to visit the destination in 2013.
“We continue to work closely with Port of Tyne on the visitor welcome to ensure ferry passengers have all the information and knowledge they need to make the most of their time in Newcastle and Gateshead.
“In addition, Port of Tyne welcomed 32 cruise ships in 2013, which provides a fantastic opportunity for Newcastle and Gateshead and the surrounding areas to capitalise on this lucrative area of the cruise market.
“Overall visitor spend from passengers using the Port’s International Passenger Terminal was £54m in 2013 – signalling great news not only for the port, but also for Newcastle and Gateshead and the wider region.”